I have earlier reported studies showing that students post higher scores when they take tests with pencil and paper, rather than on computers. Some children do not have keyboard skills, some get confused by scrolling up and down in search of the right text. Yet state officials demand that students take tests online. This is especially pernicious for the youngest children, who are least likely to have the computer skills needed for the testing. This parents asks why.

Open Letter to
Kimberley Harrington,
Acting Commissioner of Education
State of New Jersey

March 10, 2017

Dear Ms. Harrington,

You are making nearly all third graders in the state of New Jersey take the PARCC test on a computer knowing scores would measure more accurately, and very likely be substantially higher if the test were administered with pencil and paper. Many reputable articles in professional publications substantiate this. My son is in third grade. I am both a concerned father and an educator. Why would you not want New Jersey students to achieve the highest scores possible? PARCC assessment tests the knowledge students acquire from their teacher, not adeptness using a computer – or am I missing something? Your insistence the PARCC be administered on a computer not only likely negatively impacts scores, but also potentially reflects negatively on a teacher’s evaluation as 30% is based on PARCC scores.
I would like to understand more about your logic behind this mandate. Schools unfortunately have cast aside handwriting instruction and other important developmental skills to make room for PARCC. Why then insist the PARCC be administered on computer?

Many parents across New Jersey are anxious to hear your detailed reasoning on this matter.

David Di Gregorio
Father, Englewood Cliffs